I've been thinking quite a bit about Heaven lately... just in the past two days I've had dear friends walk through seemingly unbearable circumstances. The loss of a newborn and the unexpected death of a family friend. As I've walked with these friends and listened to their tears, it stirs my heart... both in pain for them and their loss and bringing my own feelings of loss and grief back to the surface. This past Friday marked a year for us learning that our fourth child would not be living with us here on earth, that we would have to wait until Heaven to hold our baby, to know this baby. It is so odd that a period of time can feel like it was such a long time ago and then in some ways feel like it was just yesterday. In some ways it seems like just yesterday- I can remember so vividly the appointment, I can still picture the nurse who was in the room with me. I can still recall where I was during several phone conversations I had that day. Yet, in other ways, it seems so very long ago. A very long year full of tears and hard decisions, of clinging to Scripture and promises found there. The path of grief feels especially difficult because there is no end in sight. It's not one of those things you can walk yourself through by looking ahead and saying " I only have to make it this far and then it will be over..." It's also unpredictable because there is no set order to how we grieve. Some days angry, some days weepy, some days indifferent, and some days all three within a two hour time period. For those of us who like a little order in our lives, this unpredictability is especially tough!
But for all the things I don't know or understand about this part of life, there are some great Truths that I do know. I know for sure that I long more for Heaven. Yes, partly because I believe that our baby is there- alive and well- before her Creator. That in Heaven we will be together. But even more than that because of what the Bible says about Heaven "...they will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4 I can hardly even imagine- no pain, no crying, no mourning, but even more than that it says that God himself will be with us there. It is sometimes easy to ignore Him and fill our lives with other things that seemingly satisfy, but here is the hope of eternity that those who repent and believe can be "with God Himself."
I also know that on this path- this path that I believe God has very lovingly and Sovereignly ordained for me-I am not alone. The Bible also says about Jesus that "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering." Isaiah 53:3 He knows and understands and even when I do not, when I cannot, He is with me and "with everlasting kindness, (He) will have compassion on me" Isaiah 54:8.
When I do not know what else to do, what to say to these friends, what to tell my own hurting heart, these are the things I call to mind. The hope of Heaven, the reminder that our days here on earth are fleeting and temporary, that this is not our home and that one day I will be with God himself (holding my sweet little baby in my arms!)